BBR take standard Mazda MX-5 and bung on a turbo
Mazda MX-5s have always attracted the attention of tuners, both private and aftermarket. Brackley-based outfit BBR GTI (Brodie Brittain Racing, as was) has been producing quality go-faster MX-5 gear since the very first Mk 1 in the 1990s.
We’ve already had a highly enjoyable shot in BBR’s naturally-aspirated ND MX-5, but this firm is perhaps best known for its turbo modding, so the arrival of the BBR MX-5 turbo is good news indeed.
The numbers are right: 252bhp at 7150rpm, 236lb/ft of torque at 3250rpm, a 155mph top end and a 0-60mph time of five seconds. All the standard Mazda electronic features are retained in the kit, with guaranteed MOT emissions compliance. Warranties from 12 to 36 months are available, and there’s full reversability if you want to take the car back to standard.
Internally, the engine needs no beefing up to handle the extra power, but all the important pipes and lines have been upgraded. The kit includes a new exhaust manifold, stainless steel downpipe, intercooler, dump valve, a K&N induction kit and a new Starchip ECU.
BBR didn’t go down the supercharger route because, according to BBR’s Neil McKay, an engine-driven blower doesn’t work well with the Skyactiv-G engine, with “high parasitic losses”. You’d need high boost levels to overcome those and to deliver meaningful power gains, and that doesn’t fit with the standard MX-5’s high compression ratio.
BBR also avoided a single-scroll turbo because the standard 4-2-1 exhaust manifold has a complex scavenging design. The single-scroll turbo generates too much back pressure to allow for this exhaust scavenging, so a low pressure twin-scroll unit became the way ahead. BBR says this works “harmoniously” with the MX-5 engine, producing good power at relatively low boost pressures – just 7psi on the Stage 1 conversion.
“With internal upgrades to the Mazda engine we know that considerably more power is available,” says BBR. “Our technical team is already developing future stages to exploit this.” The compressor itself is a a bespoke unit made from billet. It has a low inertia turbine for quick response.
The ‘drive in, drive out’ conversion price is £4,995. Add that to a used 2.0-litre car, currently available from under £18k, and you’ll have a fast but also very useable MX-5 on your hands.